February 11th, 2018

It was 7:00 am on a normal morning at the Kenwood, where I live on the 12th floor. Several of us on the elevator were silently thirsting for that first cup of fresh, hot coffee, when this newbie I had seen but not yet met got into the elevator and said, “You again.”

(i’m hard to miss in my fancy new wheelchair, especially in a filled elevator.) “Well, it’s time for morning coffee,” I said.

“I had a horse who did that,” he said.

Trying hard, but failing, to laugh discreetly. I choked, “It’s an unusual comparison.”

“Horses are smarter than people think.” he said.

“Good to know,” I said, zooming into the dining room with this wonderful morning pick-me-up. I still laugh every time I think of it.


Two takeaways:  1.  I think he likes both horses and me.  and  2.  There is never a dull moment in this post-college dorm that is so clearly not a group home, as suggested by Mr. Snotty, who shall remain nameless.

  1. A takeaway on the takeaway is that I could not get rid of this indented 1., so I included it to make it appear less obvious.  There must be a larger lesson there.


February 9th, 2018

The world is in a muddle at the moment, but what is one who cares to do?

I am currently readIng Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland:How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History and Kevin Young’s Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbugs, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post Facts and Fake News to try to understand why people choose such wrong sources of information and Tali Sharot’s The Influential Mind: What The Brain Reveals About Our Power To Change Others to figure out how  librarians can help these people to want and choose better sources. Several years ago,I also liked a lot Farhad Manjoo’s book, True Enough: Learning To Live In A Post Fact Society.

I still firmly believe the world is one giant library, in dire need of the enlightened suggestions of  librarians and the well-informed.  Picky readers of the world, it is time to step up and speak out.  Voting season is upon us.


August 18th, 2017

Roseledge Books launched its best ever, if first, all out sale, and people came for, or maybe stumbled onto, old new books that were better than new new books — which of course I didn’t have, as I have been away these past two summers. FICTION $1.00 and NON-FICTION $2.00, limit of 5 books/person.

Most Roseledge Books folks came from boats moored in front of Tenants Harbor Boatyard and, as noted, stumbled onto Tenants Harbor’s Destination Bookstore on their way down Sea Street to the General Store. Mention the sale to the brave of mind and watch them buy 5, then  find the faux-readers in the group and bring them in, only to watch the faux’s turn into ringers, and sales soar, well sort of.

“Did you curate the collection?” a newbie asked, and I liked him forever.  I liked his partner, too, who agreed that Titus Welliver is a great Harry Bosch

I tried making 5-b00k piles, e.g. kickass women, 2 piles of mysteries around the world, learning enviroments — maybe my favorite pile, jargoned up a bit for a friend, Maine for a Mainer, Maine for a newbie, fun with food that could be in Maine, in the vicinity of Labrador, really about books, sort of about books.  I had a good time, and almost no one bought the whole pile, which just demonstrates the interesting complexity — okay, weirdness — of the RB reader.  For my North Carolina friends, I’ll leave some unlabelled piles to see if you can find a theme.

Tomorrow, the Minneapolis migration happens.  The summer mornings before 8:30 were cooler than I remember and the undappled sun was hotter.  The off-shore breezes mellowed the days and kept the bugs away.  I will bring more suitably flexible clothes next year.

Next year I’ll see the Fed Ex driver, who, after delivering the second box of wine — thank you, Santa with a bit of a drawl — noted, with a grin, that this seemed to be an unusual bookstore and she would be back.  And so would the three Swedish sailors with books in hand who said they will come back here or go back there next year via the northern route, sometimes called the stepping stones, less often called the Viking route.  I promised to have on hand books about St. Brendan’s earlier-than-the-Vikings voyage to Iceland, which would surely convincingly suggest that the Irish taught the Vikings how to sail the longer distances non-marauding adventures required.  The most amiable of the sailors with pitch-perfect English just stared at me for a minute, maybe stunned, and said, pointing,”Your IRISH taught MY Vikings how to sail?”  I admitted it was just a theory.  “No,” he said, still not sure he had heard right, as he walked away, with a grin and a wave, and said, “See you next summer.”

I love it here, but it’s time to go back.  Next year, for sure, North Carolina.


August 5th, 2017

I made it and all is perfect.  Okay, with a glitch or two, but Scott’s rubbery legs have recovered after pulling my 350 pound wheelchair, immobile with a “brake error”, and me, and I am not a feather, up the airport gangway filled with anxious boarders. Who knew a new wheelchair with no brakes could have a brake-error?  Anyhow, thanks to Brian and the van, Roseledge was achieved.

Next morning was a little cool and a lot foggy, but I, with my Darkstar coffee, sat blanket-wrapped on the porch, smelled the salt, imagined the 12 lobster boats and dinghies, and wallowed in the joy of being the only place in the world I wanted to be.

Later, Kris, an angel-in-training who needed a place to stay exactly when I had a need and place for her to stay, and I went to the General Store to discover a few essentials, e.g. Maine-made kettle corn and our wine of the summer, KRIS, surely the best and yes, the least expensive General Store option. Great good news is that I and my wheels can get into the Store and tool around the aisles with no major catastrophes.

Maybe the loveliest happening is running into people who have wondered and worried about the bookstore. The Friendship sloop group had a gathering and asked Susan, who rents moorings, who then asked me almost in the middle of the road, the Ladies Who Walk waved vigorously, the best ever, breakfast bagel sandwich maker stepped outside the bakery to say hello and tell me this is her last season which is very bad news and means I will up my morning indulgence to two/week to make up for lost time, my neighbor stepped away from the party to shout a welcome as with family, we walked down the hill to the Quarry Tavern, and Bobby stopped over and brought his special tomatoes which, atop cheese and crackers, make the best finger food ever.

Speaking of cheese and crackers and implying parties on the porch, we had the most perfect spontaneous event with long time summer friends who go back to my days as early morning desk person at the East Wind when I was nattering away and Ellen walks in with Steve and announces in no uncertain terms, “I know that voice,” and she did and still does, and long time bookstore friends, Tim and Kris, who go back to the days of Harry’s big car nicking his garage door opening two summers in a row, and Harry touching it up as quickly as he could carry in his groceries and carry out his can of paint and brush.

And to make perfect even perfecter,  just before they came, Santa Fed Ex delivered an array of wine, cheese, crackers, and toppings to sigh for — and grin foolishly while wolfing down.  A million thanks, Madeline, and HELLO, NORTH CAROLINA.  So wish you were here.

More news soon about house acquittal, bookstore extravaganza, etc., I promise.


June 24th, 2017


I’ll see you on the Roseledge front porch after July 15, barring a Russian-provoked Delta computer glitch or a short-people travel ban. I’ll have the good coffee ready — Dark Star beans from Rock City Roasters — if Scott clears the mouse nest from the very excellent drip coffee maker.

Hope — plus profound stubbornness, very good friends and a ton of arrangements — works.

I can hardly wait.


June 12th, 2017

No Tenants Harbor arrival date set yet, but I remain hopeful.  I asked Scott Hodgkins to post a HELP WANTED notice on the bulletin boards in both the Town Office and the Post Office. Scott tonied it up a bit, but I think it mostly reads:

Usually good-natured person in a wheelchair needs about an hour of home help two times a day at about noon and 5 o’clock this summer from July 15 – August 15. The pay is $20.00 per hour for a total of $1120.00. I know coming to Roseledge cottage on Sea Street twice a day is inconvenient, so how about finding several friends to divvy up the days or times? Or interested students visiting or on vacation? Or stay-at-home moms? Or part-timers going to or from another job? Or a group of goodhearts who need a project with the roughly $1,000.00 going toward a worthy cause?

If four weeks is too long, how many days can you do?

interested persons can call me, Colleen Coghlan, in Minneapolis, MN at 612-331-7643 or Scott who lives nearby at 207-577-6017.

And therein lies the problem: I am wheelchair bound and need more help than I did two summers ago.  These arrangements are hard to make long distance but Scott and Brian are godsends.  And please don’t worry; my body misbehaves, but my tongue? Never!

Please keep me in mind when next you wonder how you can best use your summertime near the sea.  And  when Scott cleans the mouse-doo from the coffeemaker, I can almost promise a cup of Darkstar blend with blueberries from the bushes, if you will pick them.

Fingers crossed.


January 30th, 2017

Rosleedge Books’ world looks promising.
Trumpdom’s not so much.
Worry, worry.

Think of rebutting things,
uplifting things,
Things that go “YES!” in the night.

I can’t decide if, to a reader, living and reading are an interaction, symbiosis, or mind-meld, but I do know they mix and matter as surely as any other substance we ingest to stay alive. I saw some of what I mean in Jim Webb’s memoir, I Heard My Country Calling, and I hoped — and still hope — that I might find it in Peter Orner’s Am I Alone Here? Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live,which one reviewer described as neither literary criticism nor a memoir. So far, and I am only on Chapter 2, the book is wanting. It is organized by key books rather than key events. Life follows, it does not lead.  I understand that books can and do matter after reading, but the joy is the promise that a book might matter when choosing it. The good news is that it usually does. For me, reading isn’t a hobby; it’s a way of life, and I was looking for a think-aliker who so far isn’t there. AARRGGHH.

But then I read the transcript of (NYTimes Book Reviewer) Michiko Kakutani’s interview with President Obama and I knew, thank heavens, that real readers do still exist. He talks of books he put on Malia’s Kindle, books from which he gained perspective, understanding (Iowans, among others), and a sense of identity, sci-fi and thriller books that offered, as books always do to real readers, escape plus the unexpected.


And though President Obama didn’t mention what I’m sure is his affection for and use of libraries when choosing his books, I wasn’t — and am not — wrong to believe that people of mind with questions (the real readers) thrive in libraries, all kinds of libraries for’ all kinds of information at any time the need to know more strikes. My latest best example of this meta-user living the library life is Ada Calhoun, a New Yorker who “cherishes each library experience.” Enjoy her adventures being shushed out of NYPL while co-looking up with Tim Gunn things about denim,, or managing at the library with a “kids only” bathroom, or enjoying most the Mid-Manhattan Branch where falling asleep is not an option. She is a library user, a freelancer, an entrepreneur, a person of mind, able to shred fake news or alternate facts with a single thought. She is Trump’s worst nightmare, and I will work to make sure, she is one among legions.

I can breathe again.

The new day is better — filled with protests and people reading 1984.

It’s time to plan.


July 20th, 2016

High Summer 2016 is there which is a very good thing and Roseledge Books is hopping — okay, on Thursdays. Scott called yesterday to say that four people — almost a crowd — were there at once taking full advantage of the first-time ever summer sale, to wit:

The Roseledge Books Big Markdown.

Mass market fiction — $1.00 each.
Trade fiction — $2.00 each.
Non-fiction — most are $5.00 each,  

 except art or art-ish books — still full price.

Just think about the deals with the series RB was building. With Cara Black in hand, you’ll be one with the neighborhoods of Paris — and safe while reading — for only 2.00 each. And Diana Gabaldon’s Claire and Jamie Frasier saga is yours for just 1.00 or 2.00 per book, each of which is a behemoth at nearly 1,000 pages each. Cheaper than a STARZ subscription for sure. Catch up on Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Claire and Russ, Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, Peter Temple’s Jack Irish, C.J, Box’s Joe Pickett family (“They could be Mainers,” one Mainer extolled.”) and the list could go on, were my memory better and I knew what Scott had sold.

No book has no there – there.  Think about it.  Read books, vote, and save the world. 

Had the books sold at full-price, last Thursday might have been almost the biggest day ever, except for the days when the North Carolina Regulars come and keep Roseledge Books alive for another year, and they will be there soon. I will sit here by the fan and be one with the remains of the glorious Roseledge-evoking flowers they sent me to celebrate first steps and the promise of next year — among other things — and I don’t know how to comment on facebook to thank them. So this is a major thank you through a flower-mind meld, if all goes well.  Charlie is coming next week to show me how to comment and how to play Pokemon Go, among other duties HE might find more pressing.  One doesn’t want to be totally out of it, and I already have trouble with NYTimes crossword clues related to Harry Potter and #1 album of any year.


Know that I’m working on being there next year and the signs are aligning.

I walked 11 ft. 6 in. with harness and hemi-walker and much awkwardness. Oh to have a permanent, invisible harness holding me up. Standing, pivoting and transferring is very necessary and going to require much exercise of the apparently nearly dormant abs and glutes, but I have hope, will and a miracle named Becky, which sum to a real possibility that I will be in Tenants Harbor next summer!

And I haven’t forgotten my bookseller duty to find the aptest books for the legions of readers who will keep the world free of, ot at least safe from, Trumpty -Dumpty. Just when I most needed an apt book, Marilyn Stasio (NYTBR) reviewed John Farrow’s The Storm Murders which takes place on an island off the Atlantic Coast. I was homesick enough for TH to order it with a click of my dreaded Kindle, and glory be, I found a must-have for Roseledge Books! It is set on Grand Manan, technically part of New Brunswick but “closer” to Lubec, ME, and described as looking like a Wyeth painting (At 25%, as Kindle has no pages. Drat.) The story has detailed island trails and local knowledge, summer people trying to learn and natives who might or might not help. Could be Tenants Harbor with great trails (Go to Town Office for maps.) Wyeths all around, literally, and lots of nifty natives and summer people.

Signs are aligning.  Books are worth mining.  All will be good — if you VOTE.

Mostly, I am a summer stranger in Minnesota, trying to survive 90-90 days (my aunt Darleen’s term for days with 90 degrees heat and 90 percent humidity), and wishing I were there on the porch as the 4 o’clock breeze comes up from the harbor.

Don’t forget the book sale.  Christmas, summer school graduation, beach days, birthdays, and, most recently, rehab reads for my friends whose bodies keep breaking — every event has a reading purpose and a reason to visit Roseledge Books.


June 6th, 2016

Quite exciting news, but only the beginning, I know.

With the help of a harness, I took my first steps since December 2, 2014! Okay, I only took four steps and maybe I did do better going backwards, but a step is a step for all that. Here’s to standing and pivoting and– crossed fingers — being in Maine in 2017!

This is a little exciting, okay, it is a lot exciting.  I just have to learn how to get my core to engage when told or willed.  The right hip is especially recalcitrant.  I tell Becky, the ultimate PT,  that if she’s got the way, I’ve got the will.

But there is still a long, harbor-less summer to weather. In the spirit of thus weathering, I watch SHETLAND. The PBS series based on Ann Cleeves’ mysteries, which I once started to read, but found too wordy. And I love it, especially the setting in the Shetland Islands and the photography, until it is all too much like Maine. Then I fall asleep, and when I wake, all is better. This was my mother’s remedy with the first sunburn of the season in my lifeguarding days.  It worked then, and it is working so far now. The PBS series makes me think I should give Ann Cleeves’ books another try.  With books, you can just stop reading if the longing is too much.  And then there is VERA, another PBS series based on Ann Cleeves’ mysteries set in Northumberland, which has a satisfying amount of water.  Dana said Vera was the dowdiest detective ever and she looked just like me.  Harsh, I thought.  Frumpy, mabe.  Frumpy is okay.

To further offset lonesomeness, I also ordered Maine poet Christian Barter’s latest book, In Someone Else’s House, for his use of Maine details to make the larger point. I like Billy Collins for the same stylistic reason, and they both have hope and good-nature.  I just don’t do angst or despair.  And just to be clear, I was not, absolutely not, influenced by his last name being Barter, as in Barter’s Point Road which continues Sea Street three houses up the hill from Roseledge. Surely a connection might lurk therein, though.


The pictures will come, I promise you that.  I just don’t know how or when.


Meanwhile, a little outrage is always good for the soul.

You may recall that I am convinced — irrationally, my b-i-l might argue — that the Irish were “here” before the Vikings.  Well, another bit of exciting news is that some  potentially relevant evidence to support my position has almost come to light.

Sarah Parcak, using new, satellite-based search techniques for which she received a MacArthur genius award. has found an old, “probably Viking,” ship buried beneath the growth and detritus of ages, off the coast of Newfoundland. Why “probably Viking” without considering “maybe Irish?” I ask.

From “Archeologists do not have much to go on when attempting to prove that a settlement was made by Norsemen, rather than Basque fisherman or Native Americans—the one true hallmark of Norse travelers was the use of iron nails to build their boats, thus the discovery of an iron-smelting oven would be strong evidence of Viking activity.”

From nytimes: “There’s no lock that it’s Norse, but there’s no alternative evidence,” said Douglas Bolender.                             

From bbc:  “Newfoundland historian Olaf Janzen was certain, no other groups of settlers roasted bog iron in Newfoundland.”

Bog iron aside, how about acknowledging that the Irish were also sailors and living in Iceland before the Vikings? Maybe they were even second hand users of bog iron.  Maybe they were hermits being crowded out by the Vikings.  The possibilities are many.

“The recorded history of Iceland began with the settlement by Viking explorers and their slaves from the east, particularly Norway and the British Isles, in the late 9th century. Iceland was still uninhabited long after the rest of western Europe had been settled. Recorded settlement has conventionally been dated back to 874 AD, although archaeological evidence indicates Gaelic monks had settled Iceland before that date.”

Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s mystery, Last Rituals, and Millie’s Guide Book mention the monks, too.  She, Dana and Nancy are going to be there for 48 hours, so I told them to read up and keep their “prepared” eyes ready.

Still I continue to look for evidence of the Irish contribution. Thus I am currently reading Nancy Marie Brown’s Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the World’s Most Famous Chessmen and the Woman Who Made Them, and though chess, the sagas, and a Norse perspective dominate, I am confident that Margaret the Adroit, the woman of the title, will, to the discerning eye, turn out to be Irish. But that is for a latter day rant.


Oh what a tangled web was woven early on by those a-rovin’.


Scott reports a quiet Memorial Day on Sea Street, no bustle of classic cars housed down the road getting ready for the parade or walkers from summer cottages meandering by with a pause to check out the harbor. He and Brian were on the porch, ostensibly planting grape tomato plants after mowing the jungle -lawn, but really just vegging out in case you all came by. It’s early days yet, I know.  And the sign at the corner remains R-less.

Back at the pt gym with unwilling abs, I (gasp) am (gasp) thinking of TH (gasp) and you all (gasp) and 2017 (gasp) and all is right with the world. (big gasp and flop on mat)  


May 3rd, 2016

Well, Maine is a no-go this summer. I haven’t given up on my legs, though others may have, so I have started a new round of physical therapy with someone who seems creative and good and who has not ruled out ME in ’17. Keep your fingers crossed. And get ready for tornado-strength blasts of ESP when you are anywhere near Roseledge. One never wants to be completely out of the picture.

Goodheart Scott is going to keep Roseledge fit and has promised to people the front porch on occasion, mostly Tuesdays for Sea Street and Barters Point renters and others who come on Saturday, settle in on Sunday, visit favorite spots on Monday, and get ready to walk and read and re-become one with Tenants Harbor on Tuesday. Other times are at his discretion, but pre-pub sittings on Fridays are known to have occurred.

He will keep the wildflowers — okay, dandelions and creeping Charlie which some might wrongly call weeds — and growing grass at bay and fix the sign on the tree at the corner. ROSELEDGE BOOKS has lost its R and is now OSELEDGE BOOKS which is only fun with an explaining person at hand. So Scott has agreed — grudgingly, I thought — that he will not turn OSELEDGE into NOSELEDGE or, worse, O’SELEDGE which is so-o-o not Irish or funny.  Okay, it’s a little funny.

See the harbor, the sun’s glare, the perched gull, the un-inserted photo.

Know that many, maybe most, of the books will be marked way down, even as I read to choose new titles for the summer of ‘17. I’ve just started and am loving Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl. Fortunately, her current lab is at the U of Hawaii which is clearly one with water, sort of, and so will be a must for ROSELEDGE BOOKS next summer. Another probable is Catriona McPherson’s Quiet Neighbors, set in winter in a Scottish bookstore town with Lowell’s Bookshop filled with secrets and tales to tell or sell, all of which sum to a good read on a hot summer day from ROSELEDGE BOOKS whose next door neighbors across the road and down the hill are, yes, the Lowells!

I hope the physical therapist’s leg and stomach exercises are filled with enough hurt to out-ache a breaking heart.  Maybe she could make paper books readable again. Out, out damn Kindle.  But that is a rant for another post.

I remain optimistic.